Snowy Asia

(P1) Snow, SLEET, and icy winds across east Asia have caused deaths, flight cancellations, and CHAOS as the region struggles with record-low temperatures due to a COLD SNAP that brought snow to several tropical areas for the first time in many people’s lifetimes.

(P2) In Taiwan, the capital Taipei recorded a low of 4C (39F), the coldest in 44 years. Local media said 90 people had died due to the cold weather, mainly from HYPOTHERMIA and HEART ATTACKS. Five more died in Japan.

(P3) Hundreds of flights were cancelled across the region, tens of thousands of vacationers were STRANDED in South Korea, and freezing conditions in sub-tropical Hong Kong caused MAYHEM on its tallest mountain.

(P4) In northern Vietnam, snow covered mountain areas as the wave of cold air arrived on Sunday to Lào Cai province. In the capital, Hanoi, it dropped to a milder 6C, although authorities said that was the coldest the city has been for two decades.

(P5) The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou saw sleet for the first time in 60 years.

(P6) A Guangzhou driver, Wang Jun, told the South China Morning Post that he had never seen sleet throughout his 20 years working in the city. “I woke up at 6am to work and saw small pieces of ice hit my windscreen. It stopped for a while, but happened again half an hour later. And then there was sleet at about 11am,” he said.

(P7) “It’s the first time I’ve see that. It’s very beautiful,” he said.

(P8) In Hong Kong, primary schools and kindergartens were closed on Monday after temperatures fell to 3C, a 60-year low. A 100km ULTRA-MARATHON race was stopped as competitors crossing the city’s tallest PEAK, Tai Mo Shan, slipped on the icy SLOPES. A race official described the scene as one of “CARNAGE”, with dozens of people suffering from hypothermia; firefighters called in to rescue them were filmed slipping and sliding on the icy roads.

(P9) In Bangkok, labelled the planet’s hottest city, the temperature dropped to 16C on Monday. SCARVES and padded jackets, normally bought only as winter holiday items by residents of Bangkok, appeared in the city as locals dealt with the unusually cool weather.

(P10) During the peak tourism season, the sea in many areas was dark and rough as grey clouds hung overhead.

(P11) Hundreds of flight cancellations left tens of thousands of vacationers stranded in South Korea, after the biggest snowfall in three decades shut the airport on the RESORT island on Jeju.

(P12) In China, 24 weather stations recorded all-time low temperatures. Further north, in Inner Mongolia, the temperature dropped to a record low of -46.8C (-52F) and in China’s eastern city of Qingdao, fishing boats were stuck in the frozen waters.

(P13) The weather changed many people’s travel plans for the CHINESE NEW YEAR, when families normally travel to their home towns.

WORDS: 473



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. What is the coldest weather you have ever experienced?
  3. During extreme weather, it is usually old people who die. Why is this true?
  4. Do you own clothing for very cold weather?
  5. Has there been any unusual weather in your area in the past year?
  6. Is Chinese New Year celebrated in your country?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Cold snap
  • Heart attack

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